Poverty, Gender-Based Violence, and the LGBTQIA+ Community

16 Days of Activism

Often overlooked are the impacts of GBV on women in all their diversity.  This includes queer and transgender women, who experience significantly higher rates of violence and poverty. Queer and trans women are much more likely to experience violence from both strangers and intimate partners, as well as face discrimination in accessing housing, healthcare, employment, and education.

These factors combined lead to increased rates of homelessness and poverty for queer and trans women. In the US, sexual minority adults are twice as likely to experience homelessness, and rates are even higher for trans people.

Similar findings were reported by the World Bank, which found that LGBTIQA+ individuals are likely overrepresented in the bottom 40% of the global population. Additionally, some countries still have discriminatory laws against gender and sexual minorities, further marginalizing them and increasing their likelihood of experiencing violence and poverty.

This, the social stigma queer and trans women experience, and the failure to hold perpetrators accountable also contribute to the underreporting of violent incidents. This suggests that the actual rates of violence are higher than current reports show. 

The international community has recognized this issue, but more is needed to increase visibility. In a historic joint statement by 12 UN agencies, fighting against discrimination and violence for LGBTI individuals was declared essential to the success of reaching sustainability goals. In 2015, the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (LBT) Caucus of the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) delivered a statement at the 57th session describing the violent reality millions of LGBTIQA+ women face around the world. It is important to keep in mind the diversity of women when considering the issues that impact them.

How to take action in supporting LGBTQIA+ survivors of gender-based violence?

  • Become an ally of LGBTQIA+ folks: educate yourself and promote an inclusive and respectful dialogue around prevention of gender-based violence, giving space to people from the community to share their own experiences. This also implies analize personal bias.
  • Report any act of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people at work, school or other spaces.
  • If you know someone who is affected by gender-based violence, offer help or resources to support them. 

More resources:

Authored by Rachel Guerreiro, NGO CSW/NY Advocacy Intern, and Carla Cordova, NGO CSW/NY Communications Intern